Delicious Daal as Stone Soup
Made with Pigeon Pea lentils, Daal Chawal (lentils with rice) is as basic a wholesome meal as it can get. Affordable by the poorest household in India, this meal is served daily in schools, on street side stands and upscale restaurants, in humble slums and Bollywood mansions; to a South Asian, Daal can nourishes you like no other – the warm, earthy flavours with turmeric, ginger and garlic is comfort food. It warms you up from the inside out and leaves you full and satisfied.
As you know, I am a lover of pulses – one of the most special organisms in the world. Pulses are the edible seeds of legumes – also known as lentils. These plants have the ability to absorb free solar energy from the sun to make nitrogen to grow. Any excess nitrogen they produce is infused back into the soil, enriching it so other plants may also grow there. If there is a “Mother of all Plants”, pulses are it.
Pulses sit at the beginning of a sustainable food chain; they are a source of protein with the lowest carbon footprint on the planet. It is through pulses that humanity will be able to feed our burgeoning population of seven billion souls.
When I think of all of that goodness and possibility packed within my bowl of Daal, I get overwhelmed and the meal becomes that much more special.
Pulses were always a part of mixed crop farming in South Asia. In the era before GMO seeds were developed to facilitate massive agricultural and in the days before farmers were forced to purchase fertilizers and pesticides custom designed for these seeds, i.e. in the era before our food system broke, generations of pulse cultivators in South Asia came to understand the different varieties of pulses required for their crop rotation cycles to maintain soil health. All those pulses went into the food chain as the main source of protein for the region. This holds true even today – South Asian families continue to cook with pulses in all kinds of dishes. Soups, stews, breads, batters, chips, crackers and trail mixes are made daily using pulses.
In agro terms, pulses require the least amount of inputs to obtain the highest nutrition value. The United Nations knows this – 2016 was declared to be the International Year of the Pulse to build awareness for dedicating farmland towards pulse production across the planet. And Ontario Farmers will grow them, IF WE BUY THEM.
In North America, our main source of protein comes from unsustainable animal factory farms. Replacing those meats with sustainable meats can be expensive when on a budget. And that is precisely why including pulses in your diet, even once a week, can be an affordable, accessible and nutritionally viable solution.
You simply require a paradigm change with a dash of willingness to learn how to cook with them. If you were ever wondering how you – on your own – can fight climate change, THIS IS IT.
I was overjoyed when asked to bring our beloved Daal recipe to the Stone Soup Event this year at Withrow Park Farmers Market.
This feature annual fundraiser will be held on Saturday, September 24th in the park, right at the farmer’s market.
Our Daal will be precooked and we will add your donated cooking greens to the pot on-site.
In exchange for your donation, you will receive a bowl of delicious Daal.
Other donated vegetables are very welcome, especially root vegetables which can store well over the winter. They are in full season right now and all these donated veggies and any cash will go directly to Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre nearby.
Having Tiffinday’s Daal connected with the story of Stone Soup this year at Withrow Park is a big deal, indeed.
It is an honour and a pleasure to bring you this dish while being able to raise awareness about our food system.